The best time to pay a compliment is when the person least expects it.
Why is it a good practice to pay compliments? To answer this question, you can ask yourself how it feels when someone pays you a compliment.
We are all different, therefore not everyone will feel the same about a compliment. For some people, it can really boost their confidence and make their day so much better.
What I found interesting is not the reason why the compliment is important, but the timing.
Before I tell you why the timing is important, let me tell you about the Pavlovian experiment.
For those rare few who are not familiar with this, a Russian psychologist, Ivan Pavlov, discovered that you can condition dogs by simply ringing a bell before their food is served. The dogs developed a habit of salivating every time the bell rang because they thought the food came next.
This conditioning is a great way to teach your dog new tricks and to teach your children many habits. However, it is not a good way to improve your social graces.
Do you ever notice that when someone complains about something and you pay them a compliment, it seems to go in one ear and out the other? It does not register because you are being predictable.
If you want this to become a habit, get into the habit of doing it spontaneously.
All it takes is giving a compliment when it’s least expected.
Now let me tell you why when the timing is right this becomes sticky—sticky is a good thing, it is when something has stuck in the mind.
Your target is not the conscious mind, but the subconscious. You want the person to remember this for a lifetime, not for the minute the compliment is given.
When you pay someone a compliment spontaneously, you catch them off guard. The person is now placing this memorable compliment into the long-term storage of the brain.
To aid the mind in keeping this in the long term memory, the mind stores not only the compliment but the context and location, too.
The mind focuses on it, repeats it, and organizes it in such a way that it wouldn’t if it was done if the person was expecting a compliment. You can read further into how to store memory long term here.
How did I learn this?
Through realization and awareness of how compliments change people. A person changes their appearance, language, and behavior when a compliment is given subtly.
Giving someone a compliment before they hint for it makes the person so much more confident and exuberant. The change happens right in front of your eyes.
Try it if you don’t believe me.
Make someone’s day by surprising them with a compliment about anything specific about them. Watch their reaction and behavior after the fact. Notice in the future how this affects them.
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I am an entrepreneur at heart. I mentor entrepreneurs as a way to give back to my community. I created my own website and I am a contributing author to the Huffington post as well as Thought Catalog. My writing has been featured in other big publications on medium. I bring into my writing a business background as well as academic research, life and relationship advice. I only speak about what I know and my experience.